Children Aid Society Sierra Leone ends one day seminar
Children Aid Society Sierra Leone on June 16th 2014 held a one day seminar at the YMCA Hall Fort Street, Freetown on the theme “A Challenge for young Girls in Schools”. In her keynote address Madam Elila Tiebiatu Sylvis Noah noted that teenage mothers are more likely to finish secondary school while pregnant teenagers are less likely to attend college. She furthered that teenage pregnancy adversely impacts the education of the girl child as they experience a higher incidence of domestic violence, marital abuse at the hands of men sometimes old enough to be their fathers, adding that many young girls die during child birth because often, the men are much older and have more experience, and married girls face a higher risk of contracting HIV. She admonished the school girls present that education is the key to economic independence and asked them to stand firm against early marriage and teenage pregnancy and to remain committed to their school work.
Tiebiatu Sylvis Noah thanked the Children Aid Society Sierra Leone for their continued effort to shed light on issues that promote the well being of girls. She concluded by leading all girls present to oath. “Today, as I commemorate the Day of the African Child, I vow (god/Allah being my helper) to remain a child. I pray that my teenage be a time to learn and not a time to have a baby. I kiss the baby in me goodbye until I am much older” noting that children should be in school, stay in school and graduate from school.
In her presentation on early marriage and reproductive health, Mrs. Sarah Koroma of PPASL said it is discouraging and heart rendering that society fails to understand that young married individuals are yet physically, biologically and mentally not ready for the rigors of pregnancy and child birth. She said it is documented that almost 69 percent of girls who give birth are less than 18 years old with 16 percent already married at age less than 15 years which she said has serious implications on the reproductive health and social economic development of the girl, her family, community and society at large. She calls on authorities to promote and effort policies that protect education on girls and adolescent, improve contraceptive access and services.
The Chairman, Momoh Thomas Bockarie who also doubles as a board member said apartheid was a regime close to dictatorship. He said on that day the children were revolting against the educational system in Soweto, South Africa and demanded that they must be taught in their own language which the authorities misunderstood. Bockarie noted that the brave fight put up by the children set the stage for the collapse of the apartheid.
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